Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee backs arrested aide, blames CBI for ‘leaks’


KOLKATA: Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee Sunday stood up for Trinamool’s arrested Birbhum strongman Anubrata Mandal, questioning on what grounds the CBI had taken him into custody and urging supporters to “go to battle” against BJP’s alleged bid to “weaken” her party through central agencies.
Mamata’s stout defence of the party’s Birbhum district president, arrested last Thursday in the cattle smuggling case, contrasted with her response to sacked minister Partha Chatterjee’s arrest in the alleged jobs-for-cash scam in the school education department. Standing in the assembly constituency of Behala West, which Chatterjee has represented without a break since 2001, the CM didn’t once mention him even as she took up cudgels for Mandal.
“What wrong has Kesto (Mandal’s nickname) done?” Mamata said. “Every time during elections, they have put him under house arrest while shielding the real thieves and dacoits. You saw what happened after we stopped their game in Jharkhand?
BJP had to quit Bihar. Where was the ED and CBI when Rs 50 crore to Rs 100 crore were being given to topple governments?” The CM also accused the CBI of “leaking information” to give Mandal a “bad name” and “going on the rampage” in his Bolpur house, from where he was picked up. Mamata threatened a “jail bharo” movement if her party colleagues continued to be targeted.





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